Winchester, VA 540-628-8533

TMJ Treatment

The acronym TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint” specifically, though it has come to be used as a shorthand for an assortment of dysfunctions and disorders related to the joint itself. Its name tells the tale: “Temporo” refers to the temple area of the skull, while “mandibular” connotes the lower jaw and “joint” is the hinge point where the head and jaw meet.

TMJ problems can be caused by trauma, tooth misalignment or even muscle tension. The two bones that meet at this hinge point at the jaw are buffered by cartilage and five different muscles, so TMJ can cause an array of problems:

  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Trouble or soreness when opening and closing the mouth
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Jaw soreness that can extend to the face

There are a variety of treatments for TMJ disorders, though there’s no universal solution: replacing missing teeth, moving or shifting teeth, adjusting a patient’s bite, filling gaps between teeth and more. In some cases a plastic mouth guard can help prevent clenching or grinding of the teeth, particularly overnight, which can contribute to the problem. If TMJ is left untreated and becomes severe, surgery may be the last recourse to heal the badly damaged joint.

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